The Chicago Force women's football season ended Saturday with a 40-14 loss to the Kansas City Tribe in a semi-final game played in Kansas City. It was the second year the Force had made their way to at least the semi-finals in post-season play. The loss means the Force would not be returning to the championship finals this season.
“A lack of execution, missed tackles, and not capitalizing on opportunities played a key role in” the outcome, according to George Howe, the team's director of Media Relations. “Heart, emotion and effort... can carry a team so far. The Force just never seemed to get over the hump” to win he said.
A scoreless first quarter indicated a tough game ahead for the two teams. The Tribe got on the board first when quarterback Jenny Schmidt made a pass to standout Rusty Sowers for a 19 yard touchdown. Defender Darlene “Blue” Hall got her hand on the extra point to keep the Tribe at 6-0. The Force responded with a late drive in the quarter. Quarterback Sami Grisafe earned six first downs in a drive that included a fourth down 12 yard run by Running Back Darcy Leslie. With the ball on the Tribe 8, and time running down, the Tribe stalled the Force drive for two downs. In a third down attempt, Grisafe faked a handoff to Leslie, then rolled right and passed to Wide Receiver Albi Zhubi, wide open in the corner of the end zone, connecting with just five seconds on the clock. A successful extra point try by Carolyn Lee gave the Force a 7-6 half time lead.
In the third quarter, the opening kickoff drive by the Force drove the Tribe back to the 12 yard line, where the Tribe defense held on a fourth and two situation. Two Tribe possessions resulted in two touchdowns. However a Force counter attack pulled the Chicago team back within reach, noted by an 11 yard run by Leslie assisted by a 12 yard pass to Martha Dantuma.
With the score 20 – 14 entering the final quarter, the Tribe moved the score to 27 – 14. The Chicagoans failed to score in response, then in the final minute the Tribe made an interception for one touchdown, then a fumble recover for a second touchdown. An extra point try was knocked down by Line Backer Kim Marks. Trish Harper picked up the ball and made a 90 yard run back for two points.
“The farther you go in the playoffs, the more it hurts when you lose,” Force Head Coach John Konecki said. “Everyone needs to hold their head high. We had a good season.”